Adventures on Lilac Hill
by Anna Weaver

Planting Garden
Chapter Four

The next morning it was raining. Daniel played indoors. But after a while, he leaned his head against the windowpane. "I wish it wouldn't rain so much," he sighed deeply. "I want to play out in the sunshine."

"April showers bring May flowers," Mother repeated encouragingly. "Why don't you get the seed catalogs. Remember we received two catalogs? If you cut pictures out of both, you will have two of each thing. Then when Joseph comes home, I'll show you how to play a game with them. Cut your pictures out very carefully. Later I'll give you cards to paste your pictures on."

A big smile chased away the frown on Daniel's face. "This will be fun! I like to cut and paste. Won't Joseph be surprised?" he asked.

"Cut out two pictures exactly alike of beans, carrots, peas, corn, radishes, red beets, spinach, and lettuce," suggested Mother.

Through the rest of the morning, Daniel worked busily at cutting the pictures. After lunch, Mother brought him some cards. The finished cards he laid in a neat row.

"Now clean up your scraps and put everything away. Joseph will soon be home," advised Mother.

Daniel looked up in surprise. "Is it time for Joseph to come already?"

"Yes, it is. Time passes quickly when we are busy and happy."

When Joseph came home, Mother explained how to play a memory game with the cards. "Mix them up and place them all face down in rows. Take turns turning them two cards over at a time. If the cards match, that pair is yours. If they do not, turn them facedown again. But try to remember where each one is so that when you find the matching one, you can turn over the pair. Whoever has the most pairs at the end of the game wins."

"This will be fun!" exclaimed Joseph.

"Hurry and change your school clothes, Joseph, so we can play with it," Daniel urged.

"It won't take me long," called Joseph as he raced up the stairs.

"The sun is shining!" Daniel said a few minutes later, looking out the window.

"We are glad to see the sun, but everything is wet outdoors, so it will be nice to stay indoors and play with your new game," suggested Mother.

"Sure, I won't mind staying indoors now," replied Daniel.

The evening past quickly. The next day Daniel was busy helping Mother clean up the flower beds. It was fun to see the little shoots coming up. Daniel was very careful not to break off any of the small spikes. "I wonder how many different kinds of flower will come up," he said.

"We'll just have to wait and see. Each new one will be another surprise. Won't that be fun?" asked Mother.

"Like a guessing game," suggested Daniel.

"Oh, I hear Joel. We are finished here anyway. Why don't you come in and wash up so you can play with Joel while I get supper," proposed Mother.

While Mother was upstairs, the phone rang.

Daniel ran quickly. "Hello, Yoders. Daniel speaking. Oh, it's you, Father...Yes, she's upstairs. Joel woke up. I'll tell her.

"Mother," called Daniel. "Father wants to talk to you on the phone."

As Mother turned from the phone, she said, "Daniel, will you please bring me some potatoes? Father said we will plant garden when he comes home. I want to fix a casserole so it will be all ready when we come in. Go quickly. Father will be coming home early."

"Planting garden will be fun. I'm glad I can help," Daniel said as he grabbed a pan and hurried to get the potatoes.

"Here they are, Mother." Then he asked, "What will Joel do while we plant garden?"

"I'll put him in the stroller and he can watch. It is so nice and warm today. I think the fresh air will be good for him," Mother answered.

Daniel took a deep breath of relief. "Oh, good. I'm glad he can go outdoors too. I thought maybe I'd have to stay indoors with him."

"That would be a real disappointment for you, wouldn't it?" Mother asked understandingly.

Daniel nodded his head. "It would have been hard. I do want to help plant garden. But-we couldn't leave Joel in the house alone."

"No, we wouldn't want to do that. I'm so glad it is warm. Now, will you please set the table, so we'll be ready to work when Father comes. He'll stop at school for Allen and Joseph. Then they will all be here at the same time."

Daniel tried to set the table neatly the way Mother had taught him, laying the knives, forks, and spoons straight. "I'm finished," he announced. Then he added, "Here comes Father. Now we can plant garden. Are you ready, Mother?"

Mother smiled. "Not quite. But Father must work up the soil first and then make the rows before we are ready to plant."

"I thought Mr. Brown plowed the garden for us," Daniel said.

"Yes, he did. Now Father needs to use the tiller to make it fine and then make rows for the seeds," explained Mother.

"Could I bring the seeds up?" Daniel asked.

"You may try. It they are too heavy, set the box down and Joseph will bring it up," replied Mother.

Daniel skipped away.

A few minutes later he plunked the box of seeds on the kitchen floor just as Joseph came down from changing his clothes.

"May we go out and watch Father and Allen?" Joseph asked.

"You may, but remember to stay out of the garden. The more we walk in it, the harder it will be for the little seeds to come up through the soil," reminded Mother.

Later Joseph dashed into the kitchen, "Father says to bring the seeds," he called.

Father saw them coming. "Do you thing making two more rows will be enough?" he asked Mother.

"That should be plenty," Mother agreed. "It looks nice."

"May we start planting now?" asked Joseph as he hopped from one foot to the other.

"Yes, you and Daniel may stick onions." Mother showed them how to push the small onions into the soft soil, roots down. "Now you try it," she said, handing each boy a small pan of onion sets.

Father walked over to where Allen was operating the tiller and said something to him.

Allen nodded, finished the row, and put the tiller away.

"What shall I plant?" he asked, joining the group.

"Do you remember how we planted the peas at Uncle Edwin's last year?" inquired Mother.

"I think I do. But I'd like to have you check up on me to see if I'm doing it right."

"All right. Take the third row and I'll come soon," she said handing him a package of pea seeds.

We're finished with the onions. May I help plant peas?" asked Joseph.

"Yes, if you can do it like Allen. Here, Daniel, you may plant radishes. Put one tidy seed in each hole." Mother picked up a stick and began punching a row of holes. "Be careful not to step on the row."

"Oh, Mother!" exclaimed Daniel a bit later as he saw her starting to plant something in his row. "That is where I planted radishes."

Mother smiled. "Yes, I know. I am planting carrots in the same row. The will still be tiny when the radishes are ready to eat. By the time the carrots need more room, the radishes will all be gone."

Father finished making rows. Then he walked over to Allen and Joseph. "That looks sine. I'll cover them now," he said.

"The peas are all planted. Father is covering them. What's next?" asked Allen.

"Beans," replied Mother, handing Allen a pack. "And I will plant lettuce and spinach and beets."

"What may I plant?" A pleading look crossed Joseph's face.

"You may help Allen plant beans. Stop after three rows," said Mother.

"Will that be enough beans?" asked Allen in surprise.

"Enough for now. In a few weeks we'll plant more. That way they will not all be ready at the same time, and we can have fresh beans longer," replied Mother.

"Good! I like beans," approved Allen.

When they had finished, Father looked across the garden with a smile of satisfaction. "That looks nice. Let's bow our heads and thank God for seeds, a place to plant them, and this lovely spring weather. We'll ask Him to bless our efforts. It He doesn't send sunshine and rain, the seeds will not grow."

When the were inside, Allen poured water into the glasses without being told.

"Thank you, Allen," Mother said as she set a steaming casserole on the table.

Allen sniffed the air appreciatively. "Smells good."

Father lifted Joel into his high chair.

After prayer, when everyone had started eating, Daniel asked, "Those little brown onions we planed, will the be green and white, like the ones we ate with butter bread last year?"

"Yes, they will," assured Father.

Daniel looked puzzled. "How will they get green?" he wondered.

"There is a tiny plant inside the onion we put in the ground. God arranged that under the brown skin there is food for the little plant. With the right warmth and moisture the tiny onion plant will soon send out green shoots and grow until it is large enough to eat."

"Do peas grow like onions?" asked Joseph.

In some ways they do. They need moisture and warmth like the onions. But different seeds grow in different ways. Peas, as well as beans, are seeds. The peas and beans you planted today will sprout. Each seed will push its stored food up above the ground. This will grow leaves and become the new plant. In that way peas and onions grow differently," Father explained.

Warm sunny days followed, and then some rainy days.

"It is a good thing we have some rainy days," remarked Allen one evening. "That gives us time to do a bit of cleaning up indoors, too."

"And we need rain to make the onions and peas grow," reminded Joseph.

"Did you notice they tiny green shoots coming up in the pea row?" Father asked.

"Are they coming up?" Daniel's eyes lit up eagerly.

"Yes, I saw a tiny bit of green this evening," Father answered.

"Mmm," Mother sniffed the air one sunny morning. "I smell lilacs."

Father chuckled, "I wondered how long it would be until you smelled them."

A bit later, Father presented Mother with a huge bouquet of lilacs.

"Oh, thank you." Mother buried her nose in the flowers. "Red, white, lilac, and double pink. How lovely! I'm so glad for the lilac bushes here."

"Oh, they smell so good. May I stick my nose in them too?" asked Joseph.

That evening as the family sat on the porch enjoying the lovely spring evening, Allen said, "The day we moved to Lilac Hill was the beginning. From then on it's been one wonderful surprise after the other-daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses, violets, ferns, lily of the valley, roses, and new things all the time. Did you see the red spikes with the tiny crinkled leaves?"

"Rhubarb!" guessed Mother. "I'll have to make a pie."

"Mmm," Father smacked his lips. "I can hardly wait."

Chapter 4 of Adventures on Lilac Hill
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